Ray Kurzweil, a renowned novelist, and inventor is a somewhat of a tech legend in the natural speech area. Ever since 2012, he’s worked for Google as their director of engineering in natural speech. He also happens to be one of the main people warning the populace of the impending Singularity, a future event horizon at which point A.I. will surpass humans in every way, which could mean a number of things for humanity, and predicting that the human mind will one day be translatable into data. With such a fascinating set of ideals, it would be interesting to see what he could produce in the way of an A.I. based chat bot, and how close such a bot could come to passing the Turing test, a test that blindly lets humans chat with bots to see if those bots can be mistaken for actual humans.
Incidentally, that’s exactly the project he announced at a recent Singularity conference, but with a twist; he will be backed by a team of Googlers. The chat bot to be created will be based off of a character in one of Kurzweil’s books, named Danielle, from a book titled Danielle. As part of the project, Kurzweil said that anybody could create a unique chat bot by letting the program have a taste of their writing, to get a feel for their personal style and ideas. Whether this would apply to any writing at all or only natural writing like a blog or dialogue in a book, however, was not clarified.
An audience member asked Kurzweil about “meaningful” conversations with A.I. and when he thought that such a thing could become a reality. According to Kurzweil, A.I. with the kind of human-level language processing abilities that would facilitate a conversation that one could call “meaningful” would most likely come about in 2029. He did not give a basis for that estimate, however, only saying that the bots at that point will be able to pass the Turing test, possessing human-level language expertise “and everything that comes with it”. This statement was not elaborated on much, leaving one to ponder the implications of “everything that comes with” advanced natural language processing. Kurzweil’s advanced chat bot based on Danielle is set to be released later this year.